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Re: [Phys-L] Techn-ology versus button-ology

I don't think we really know the effect on students. We do know that
overall thinking skills have gone down about 2 years according to testing by
Michael Shayer. But this can be due to a variety of factors. I am not at
all sure that students were better at reading the books years ago. The ones
who wouldn't read checked out of school at age 16 in 8th grade. Now they
are forced to stay in school. Schools used to teach subjects like shop and
home-ec which required practical skills and measurement. Now the science
courses are filled with stuff that students do not understand. For example
they are required to memorize the Krebs cycle before they have chem or
physics. Material is pushed to earlier grades, which just promotes more

So there are many factors. Getting children to free play with other
children is vitally important, but parents fill their lives with educational
things that are less important than the skills learned in free play.

John M. Clement
Houston, TX